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Whether you simply want to learn some useful Hindi phrases for your trip to India, or you're more serious about studying Hindi, there are plenty of books to help you. These are the best Hindi language books for learning Hindi at all levels, listed in order of depth. When choosing a book, an important factor to consider is how far you want to go with the language. Some Hindi books contain extensive use of the Devanagari script, which is a problem if you only want to learn how to speak Hindi, not read or write it.
Our Top Picks
Lonely Planet Indian English: Language & Culture
Although this book isn't a comprehensive phrasebook, it does provide a handy introduction to "Hinglish" (a mishmash of Hindi and English spoken together) and Indian English (India's adaptation of the Indian language, which features some unique words and expressions). It includes quirky slang and sayings, a useful word finder, a guide to pronunciation and grammar, many "Hinglish" terms, and common language misunderstandings. You'll soon be speaking like a local!
Lonely Planet Hindi, Urdu and Bengali Phrase Book
Want to learn some basic Hindi phrases? This comprehensive 300-page phrasebook is probably the best one of its kind available. It's invaluable for travel to India and is conveniently pocket sized. Plus, you get Urdu and Bengali along with it. There are plenty of practical phrases as well as some spontaneous ones for fun conversation.
Colloquial Hindi: The Complete Course for Beginners by Tej K. Bhatia
This is a great introductory book for beginners who are interested in learning to speak or write Hindi. While it's not a definitive resource, those who complete it will have a good grasp of Hindi and a vocabulary of around 200 words. The book also provides a good grounding in Hindi for those who may want to move on to a more comprehensive course of study. It contains a helpful section at the back that shows how to write the Hindi alphabet. However, the author doesn't use the Devanagari script in the body of the book at all, which means you don't have to learn it if you don't want to (unlike many other books).
Practice Makes Perfect Basic Hindi by Sonia Taneja
If you want to go a bit more in-depth into the Hindi language, including learning the Devanagari script, this is a helpful place to start. This 200-page book is thoughtfully structured and set out with separate sections devoted to the Hindi alphabet and how to write words, sentences, the present tense, nouns, adjectives, postpositions and the past tense, and the continuous and future tenses. It's not too technical or fast-paced for those with no past Hindi experience.
Complete Hindi by Rupert Snell
This is a comprehensive 494-page resource for anyone wanting to learn how to both speak and read Hindi and is popularly used as a textbook. It's a fast-paced book that doesn't spend too much time on standard, simple phrases. There aren't any instructions about how to write the Hindi alphabet, and the book quickly jumps into Hindi script. After the first five chapters, all of the lessons are in Hindi script. Hence, if you're only interested in speaking Hindi, this won't be the best book for you.
Elementary Hindi: Learn to Communicate in Everyday Situations by Richard Delacy
Although this 350-page book is deemed to be for beginners without any experience, it's better suited as a classroom textbook rather than an at-home learning resource. It's an excellent book if you want to be deeply immersed in Hindi right from the start. However, the fact that all the lessons are in Devanagari script, and there are very few translations into English, make learning challenging.
Rosetta Stone Hindi
If the thought of textbooks isn't appealing, Rosetta Stone offers an interactive approach to learning Hindi. It uses award-winning language software with special speech recognition technology, enabling learning without translating or memorizing. You can practice with native speakers in live interactive sessions and an online community.